GOP senators reintroduce bill to protect opponents of same-sex marriage

GOP senators reintroduce bill to protect opponents of same-sex marriage
© Greg Nash

A group of 22 GOP senators is reintroducing a controversial measure that would protect opponents of same-sex marriage from federal actions intended to curb discrimination. 

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) would bar the federal government from taking any action against individuals who discriminate against same-sex couples or others based on "a sincerely held religious belief."

The bill would also protect those who discriminate against marriages not recognized under federal law or individuals who engage in sex outside of marriage.


The measure was introduced by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE (R-Utah) and 21 Republican co-sponsors, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (Fla.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE (Texas) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (Utah). 

FADA was introduced in both the House and the Senate in 2015, but only received a hearing in the House. 

The bill never advanced to a full vote, however, amid protests from Democrats and concerns among Republicans that then-President Obama would veto the measure if it reached his desk. 

Supporters of the bill say that it is necessary to protect First Amendment guarantees, while opponents argue that it ultimately amounts to an attempt to legalize anti-LGBT discrimination. 

Lee told BuzzFeed News in November 2016 that he planned to reintroduce FADA after President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE took office. 

As a presidential candidate, Trump indicated that he would sign the measure if it were sent to his desk, saying that it would "protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths."